UPDATED: 8.00AM THURSDAY 9 APRIL 2020

Do you have asthma or COPD? Are you worried about how COVID-19 will affect your respiratory condition?

Asthma WA would like to assure people with asthma and/or COPD that we are here for you.

Here is some information on COVID-19 which we hope will help you understand what it all means.

Note: This is an evolving situation. Asthma WA will continue to monitor and publish updates. For the most current information on COVID-19 we recommend following the advice from the Department of Health and World Health Organisation.

View our Fact Sheets on COVID-19 that may help better understand how the virus may affect you, how you can prepare and what to do in an asthma emergency.

What does COVID-19 mean for people with Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?

People living with asthma and/or COPD are no more likely to contract the Coronavirus (COVID-19) than anyone else in the community, however the severity of their reaction to the virus may vary depending on their vulnerability.

People with asthma and/or COPD should be taking precautions when any type of respiratory illness is present in the community.

Asthma WA recommends people living with Asthma and/or COPD get their respiratory condition under control now!

 Don’t wait for an asthma flare-up or COPD exacerbation, even if you have been symptom free for a long period of time. Continue taking your prescribed medication and see your GP for a review if you are still experiencing symptoms or if you don’t have a preventer. We want your airways to be as robust as possible.

Asthma WA recommends people living with asthma and/or COPD practice good hygiene and take steps to minimise their risk of exposure, as recommended by the Department of Health. Be vigilant!

We can help you get your asthma and/or COPD under control.

CALL 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462) to book your FREE appointment with one of our Respiratory Health Educators.

What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Coronaviruses are from a large family of viruses that can make people unwell with respiratory infections.

These include common colds and other more serious upper respiratory tract infections like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

The World Health Organisation is referring to this new Coronavirus as COVID-19, which originated in Hubei Province, China in late 2019.

Latest Information and trusted resources

To stay up to date with the latest information, Asthma WA recommends that you visit the following Australian Government websites:

There are a range of fact sheets and resources available.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19 and when to get tested?

According to the Australian Government Department of Health people with COVD-19 may experience:

  • fever
  • flu-like symptoms such as (dry cough) coughing, sore throat and fatigue
  • shortness of breath

If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, call 000 for urgent medical help.

Health Direct have provided an online Symptom Checker to find out if you should seek medical help.

If you develop symptoms within 14 days of last contact with a confirmed case or after returning to Australia, you should seek medical attention. Your doctor will tell you if you need to get tested.

Who can be tested for COVID-19

Testing of COVID-19 has expanded to include any person presenting to a COVID clinic with BOTH a documented fever over 38°C and an acute respiratory infection such as shortness of breath, cough and/or sore throat.

People who work in a high-risk setting who present to a COVID clinic with EITHER a fever of 38°C or an acute respiratory infection can also be tested. This includes healthcare workers (including those who work in aged care and disability) and WA Police Officers.

For more information on testing and the COVID clinics, visit Healthy WA

National Coronavirus Helpline

You can call this line if you are seeking information on Coronavirus (COVID-19). The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Telephone: 1800 020 020

If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450 or visit the Department of Health website.

How Is COVID-19 spread?

The virus is most likely spread from person-to-person through:

  • direct close contact with a person while they are infectious
  • close contact with a person who has been confirmed infected who coughs or sneezes, or
  • touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.

The definition of ‘close contacts’ includes those people who have been face to face with a person infected with the virus for at least 15 minutes or been in the same closed space for at least 2 hours with an infected person.

How can I protect myself against COVID-19?

Good hygiene is essential to protect you against infection and prevent the virus from spreading. This includes:

  • Covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
  • Disposing of tissues properly
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet for at least 20 seconds
  • Using alcohol-based hand sanitisers
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces
  • Staying more than 1.5 metres away from people
  • Cleaning and sanitising frequently used objects such as mobiles, keys and wallets

Social Distancing is also key to how we can slow the spread of viruses. By practising social distancing, we reduce our non-essential contact with other people. The Australian Government has made a number of changes to assist with this.

Want to know more?

We are here for you. If you have questions about how to manage your asthma or COPD,  how to take your medications or have questions about how COVID-19 may affect your respiratory condition, call us on 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462) Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm.

We have created some common questions and answers that you may also find helpful. Take a look at our FAQs here.